Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, the North Carolina Zoo and ChargePoint held a ribbon cutting ceremony last week to celebrate four newly installed electric vehicle charging stations at the Zoo. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan, state legislators, Asheboro city councilmen, Randolph County commissioners and representatives from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives were also in attendance.
Randolph EMC partnered with ChargePoint to provide a total of four charging station in two prime locations within the Zoo’s campus. Each Level 2 charging station has two ports, making it capable of simultaneously charging two cars at a maximum rate of 25 miles of Range Per Hour (RPH) each. This 7.2 kW charge can fully fuel most vehicles in less than four hours.
“Randolph EMC recognizes the importance of investing in EV charging infrastructure as a way to encourage environmental sustainability, commerce and tourism in the communities we serve,” said its CEO, Dale Lambert. “We had partnered with the Zoo on other initiatives and knew that it would be an ideal fit for the implementation of EV technology to further these goals.”
“The EV chargers highlight the North Carolina Zoo’s commitment to the environment and sustainable practices,” said Mary Joan Pugh, the Zoo’s deputy director. The Zoo serves as a leader in local and global efforts to protect wildlife and places heavy emphasis on incorporating alternative and clean energies whenever possible. “This is also an exciting project because these chargers are among the first in North Carolina located at a major paid attraction that is served by an electric cooperative,” added Pugh.
These stations a part of a larger network of charging stations North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are developing across the state that will not only support tourism and economic development, but also facilitate access to electric vehicle technologies in rural communities. Even with major interstates across the state, it’s impossible for vacationers to reach North Carolina’s mountains and beaches without passing through rural communities, and the Zoo’s location in rural Randolph County is directly in the path of many travelers.
The Zoo is providing the electricity for charging vehicles free of charge, but does give visitors the opportunity to give a donation to the N.C. Zoo Society in return. Since their installation in late April, more than 140 EVs from as far west as Nashville, Tenn. and as far east as Greenville, N.C. have utilized the stations, using more than 1,500 kWh of electricity.
Read more about the project on Randolph EMC’s website.